Movie Diary 5/30/2016

Heaven Can Wait (Ernst Lubitsch, 1943). A sparkling new restoration and a warmly receptive audience made for a wonderful afternoon at SIFF (maybe the first time I’ve seen this movie since the Seattle Film Society showed it in the early 1980s). “Warmly receptive” refers to mood; nobody knew how to turn the air-conditioning off, so the free tea was appreciated.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (Taika Waititi, 2016). Sam Neill does grizzled well, and he needs to in this very sweetish New Zealand outing from the director of What We Do in the Shadows. Shows in Seattle International Film Festival.

Burn Burn Burn (Chanya Button, 2016). Brit comedy about two young women who hit the road in order to distribute the ashes of a late friend. A familiar idea for a set-up, but there are some funny people involved here, notably Chloe Pirrie and Laura Carmichael as the wandering friends. Shows in SIFF.


X-Lobster Love (This Week’s Movies)


Kate Beckinsale: Love & Friendship

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

X-Men: Apocalypse. “The first 90 minutes are the best superhero stuff we’ve seen this year.”

The Lobster. “Full of specific detail, but coy about saying what the hell is actually going on.”

Alice Through the Looking Glass. “Crams every inch of the screen with gaudy landscapes and wacky creatures.”

Love & Friendship. “A dryly delightful experience.”

And a few picks for the upcoming week at the Seattle International Film Festival. (In case of Herald paywall, Weekly link here.)

And a new Framing Pictures goes live online and also on your TV box (channel 21 in some places in Seattle). The Framers discuss two new film noir restorations, Captain America: Civil War, and the time Sam Peckinpah came to Seattle.

Movie Diary 5/24/2016

Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1966). Here’s the restoration of Welles’ Falstaff picture, courtesy the Seattle International Film Festival. It can be said that the soundtrack for the dialogue remains a problem, but the film looked very impressive on a big screen.

Wiener-Dog (Todd Solondz, 2016). Stories connected by the presence of a dachshund, including one piece that brings back Dawn Wiener (played here by Greta Gerwig), the main character of Solondz’ Welcome to the Dollhouse. The filmmaker is as merciless as ever, and his ear for the lacerating turn of phrase has gotten even better. Shows at SIFF.

Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell (Martin Bell, 2016). A film that rejoins an adolescent from the classic documentary Streetwise (1984). A hard movie to watch, and to write about, for that matter. One thing for sure: The film is no more interested in creating a storyline of reassurance than the original film was. Shows at SIFF.

The Lure (Agnieszka Smoczynska, 2015). From Poland, a musical about two mermaids who walk on the earth for a while. Lively, for certain, and seemingly geared to be a film festival picture. Shows at SIFF.

Movie Diary 5/23/2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass (James Bobin, 2016). Strictly embargoed, they tell me. (full review 5/27)

Paths of the Soul (Zhang Yang, 2015). Tibetans make their 1200-kilometer pilgrimage to Lhasa – walking and kowtowing to the ground every few steps along a highway. It’s actually sort of mesmerizing, as is the digital clarity of the landscape that surrounds the pilgrims. Shows in Seattle International Film Festival.

Ma Ma (Julio Medem, 2015). Committed performances, especially by Penelope Cruz, in this cancer story with some loopy things around the edges. Shows in Seattle International Film Festival.

Women He’s Undressed (Gillian Armstrong, 2015). The story of Orry-Kelly, small-town Aussie lad who became a dress designer to the stars. Not sure why Armstrong felt she had to doll this documentary up with actors and re-creations, as the real story is a good one. Shows in the Seattle International Film Festival.

Nice Bigger Neighbors (This Week’s Links)


Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe: The Nice Guys

Link to my reviews published in this week’s Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

The Nice Guys. “Fast, violent, and doesn’t feel like it came out of the summer-movie food processor.”

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. “Holds together a little better than the original.”

A Bigger Splash. “An arty, enjoyable piece of trash.”

A preview piece for the Seattle International Film Festival. And some capsules for titles from the first week of SIFF.

At the Overlook Podcast, Steve Scher and I take a brief look ahead at SIFF, note that Anthony Mann’s Men in War plays tonight at Northwest Film Forum, and think about 2015 titles we’re catching up to. Listen here.

Movie Diary 5/19/2016

Cafe Society (Woody Allen, 2016). The umpteenth offering from Allen starts like gangbusters, gets by on sumptuous Vittorio Storaro photography, and has some one-liners that suggest the Woodman has been been sharpening some pencils lately. Still feels like a collection of sketches, some of them amusing, few of them fully rounded. Nice that some good stuff goes to mostly peripheral characters. It was the opening night movie of the Seattle International Film Festival, which is now officially on.

Movie Diary 5/18/2016

Captain Fantastic (Matt Ross, 2016). Viggo Mortensen in a story about a family living in the wild in Washington state, brought out of Eden by circumstance. A self-satisfied movie that wants to explore ideas that might be beyond its reach. The locations are very homey for those of us in this part of the world. Shows in Seattle International Film Festival.


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